My Prediction For the Capitals: Eastern Quarterfinals, 2011 April 8, 2011Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
Regular readers may notice that I’ve been absent for a couple of days. I’ve been dealing with some health issues–mostly a nasty cold bug that almost kept me home from the Caps’ home finale–as well as some trouble with my internet connectivity. The cold seems to be on the wane, I’m back online, and now is probably as good a time as any to bring back an old tradition.
A couple of months ago, I invested in a new deck. There are some cool features with this one. First, the cards are actually round, not rectangular, so I can bring these to games and not have to worry about corners getting bent out of shape. If a card goes out of position, it just rolls right back in with the rest of the deck–no need to spring for a new one every time one card falls out of line.
Another nifty feature on this one is that each card has the name of an angel on it, which my last deck did not have. The Major Arcana is named after some fairly famous archangels, while the minors are named after some lesser-known angels in the ninth choir. I’ve got more than one angel dictionary on my bookshelves, so if I notice anything pertinent about the name on the card, I’ll mention that in my write-up, as well.
Also, this deck has a lot more of a loving bent to it than even my last angel deck. In the Minor Arcana, traditionally, there’s good news and bad news all over the place. 5’s are usually no fun, and Aces are usually very good, but the other numbers differ by suit to the point where keeping them straight requires a lot of memorization. For instance, the 10 of Cups is “happily ever after” in most decks, while the 10 of Swords usually means big, big trouble. But in this deck, most of the less pleasant news in the minors is generally restricted to the suit of Swords. Even some of the 5’s aren’t quite as fearsome in this deck as they can be in others.
Anyway, I’m going to quit trying to sell you on this deck, and get to business. A standard spread with this deck is a 3-2-3 square, with a final card in the center to represent, in this case, the team as a whole. The first three cards represent the past; the middle two, the present; the next three, the future. This is a little less in-depth than a standard Celtic Cross–and never MIND a Celtic Cover–but it should at least simplify things for the question at hand.
This deck has been with me to several Capitals home games, so it’s familiar with the energies of the team, the fans, and the building.
As I’m writing this, the Caps’ first-round opponent has not yet been determined. I don’t believe I’m jumping the gun by going to press with this with the match-up still in doubt, as this deck is only concerned with the Caps, and not any specific opponent. So, let’s get to it.
Deck: Shining Angels Tarot (Lo Scarabeo)
Spread: Past-Present-Future Square
Question: “What do the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals hold for the Washington Capitals?”
General Impression: To say that I like what I see here is an understatement. Almost all of the cards here are Minors, which tells me that this series, overall, shouldn’t be one with a whole lot of Great Big Cosmic Events. These nine cards almost look like they want to throw a party. This is going to be fun.
LEFT PAST: 7 OF WANDS (Burg El, Stronghold of God). The key associations with this card are fortunate acquisitions, help from friends, and good decisions. Now, when I see “fortunate acquisitions,” I’m immediately going, “Mm-hmm, Deadline Day!” A lot of the Capitals’ recent acquisitions have been paying dividends since arriving here. Jason Arnott, a one-time team captain, no doubt has leadership lessons aplenty for Alex Ovechkin. Marco Sturm has been a solid addition up front. Dennis Wideman was filling in quite well along the blue line, and I wish him Godspeed and a quick recovery. Even some of the internal acquisitions (as in, call-ups) have been fortuitous: Braden Holtby, anyone? So, what am I taking away from this card? A couple of things. One, that several of the new guys are part of the reason that the Caps are where they are right now, and they could prove a major factor in the first round. Number two, those were some very smart acquisitions, and they could make George McPhee look like a genius before it’s over. (Reminder to self: Never, EVER play poker with George McPhee.)
CENTER PAST: KNIGHT OF PENTACLES (Ziqi el, Meteor of God). The impression here, once more, is of new arrivals. The cards seem to want to bop me upside the head with a two-by-four to make the point clear: New arrivals, new arrivals! That they’re telling me the same thing twice only underscores the message: look for the newer Capitals to have an impact in the Conference Quarterfinals. Now, part of this is no doubt going to be because they want to win the Stanley Cup. But I can’t help but think that some of the new arrivals want to be more than just rentals, and want to use the playoffs as an audition to stay put here in Washington. I normally don’t name names, but consider Jason Arnott: when they put him on the big screen after he got his 400th career goal, the full-throated roar he got from the Phone Booth faithful seemed to surprise him. He’s only been a Washington Capital for a matter of weeks, and he’s probably scored more goals against us than he may ever score for us, but that didn’t matter when his 400th went in. Wouldn’t YOU want to stay on a team like that? And do you think that’s being noticed by other recent arrivals, who themselves may want to stay beyond this spring? Now, as to Ziqiel, he’s actually listed in 3 Enoch as the angel in charge of comets. At the time that was written, that would have been no small position: the 18 “Earth angels” listed in 3 Enoch were in charge of different aspects of nature, which was something people had to pay very close attention to back in those times. So, although this isn’t a widely known angel nowadays, when he was being written about, people would have wanted to know who he was. And that may be true of some of our new arrivals: although we’re not quite as familiar with them as we could be, they have already contributed quite a bit before getting here, and so we can look forward to more solid contributions from them.
RIGHT PAST: QUEEN OF SWORDS (Assi El, angel of healing). The general meaning of this card is one of reflection, truce, and a favorable but suffered outcome. As of this writing, the Capitals may yet end up as the 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, which I don’t think ANYONE would have seen coming back in December. There had even been a bit of excusifying in some quarters: seed doesn’t matter, we just want to get in there, anyone can beat anyone, we had the 1 spot last year, and on and on. Back around the Winter Classic, “The Caps will be the #1 team in the East come playoff time” was either a put-down or a punch line, but not a possibility. And yet, here they are, with the #1 spot theirs for the taking, in the second week of April. While this isn’t exactly 2008 all over again–the Caps were pretty much expected to make the playoffs, and were never really out of the playoff mix–the possibility of home ice for the entire Eastern Conference Playoffs is no small feat for a Capitals team that couldn’t seem to win for losing back in December. Favorable but suffered outcome? I would say so.
LEFT PRESENT: 9 OF WANDS (Gadri El, God Preserves). The impression here is one of caution, waiting for the right moment, and a positive result, just not right away. Because I’m asking this before the regular season is over, this may end up meaning that the Flyers win tonight, or the Caps’ regular season finale on Saturday night could be a stinker (though I’d love to be wrong). Also, since I am asking about the playoffs, this card would seem to rule out a first-round sweep. In a way, that’s a good thing: if the Caps win it in 5 or 6, they’ll get their vindication without getting the false sense of security that might befall them if they run the table in the first round. So, good outcome, but not so fast…I can live with Not so fast, as long as that Good outcome does indeed come to pass.
RIGHT PRESENT: THE HIGH PRIESTESS (Archangel Zuriel). The only Major Arcana card in the reading is one that’s talking about the present. So before I even talk about what this card means, I think it’s worth pointing out that this is the most important part of the whole series: this moment, and this one, and this one. The emphasis here is on being in the moment. Forget the past: you can’t change it. Never mind the future: it being the playoffs, you can worry about that when it gets here–which it won’t, if you worry too much about the non-present moments over which you have no control. Every single moment matters: that is what is being stressed when the only Major Arcana card in this entire reading shows up in the present. Be in the Now–that’s the subtext. Now, as to the card itself: The High Priestess is one of the earliest cards in the Major Arcana, with The Magician just before her, and The Empress next to come. In a way, she’s got a bit of both of them: both the mystical bent of The Magician, and the feminine energy represented by The Empress. So that ends up turning into a very loving, very wise, very protective sort of energy around the team at the present. (I am fully cognizant of the recent spate of injuries on the blue line.) The High Priestess is one of the most “spiritually-minded” cards in the deck, which may mean that it may not be a bad idea for all concerned to ask for a bit of Divine assistance with this series. Zuriel means “My rock is God,” but none of the information I have on him really jumps out at me as germane here.
LEFT FUTURE: ACE OF PENTACLES (Gamali El, Reward of God). The message here is one of outside help, earning your keep, and overcoming obstacles. Remember what I wrote way back before the season started? That win or lose, the Capitals would earn whatever outcome they got? Well, here we go again with that whole “earn it” message. This is definitely a card I like to see: Aces are very powerful cards, as far as Minors go, and Pentacles represent the physical and material. So seeing great news in a fortunate suit is no small boon, and doubly so in a position that’s forward-looking. This could also indicate a strengthening of material resources, as in key players coming back from injury and producing right away. Mike Green, I’m looking really hard at you after your 3 points and 12 PIMs last postseason. Don’t make a liar out of me.
CENTER FUTURE: 4 OF CHALICES (Jahir Jah, God illuminates). Once again, there’s an impression of outside help with this card. But on the whole, this is a card that’s more concerned with a whole “we’re a team” mentality, and to say I like seeing that in the Caps’ future is a British-grade understatement. The message here is one of solidarity; of banding together; of a threefold cord not easily broken. It almost comes across as “us against the world,” with an outside help kicker. Good news? I would say so.
RIGHT FUUTRE: KNAVE OF WANDS (Sari El, Divine Prince). The impression here is one of bouncing back, and “don’t give up.” This is another reason–see the 9 of Wands back at Left Present–that I’m not going to go out on a limb and say that the Caps will sweep the first round. In fact, given this card here, I’m starting to think that the Capitals may even lose Game 1, and by a very bad margin. Look at what I wrote about the Ace of Pentacles a couple of positions back: that card has to do with overcoming obstacles. And now this, a card that says, essentially, “Don’t give up.” Neither of those messages would be needed if the first round were to be plain sailing. Caps Nation, I cannot stress this enough: no matter who we face, this series will not be an easy one. Can we win? Well, let’s take a look at the final card, at the center of the square, to see what the team is bringing to this series.
CENTER CARD: ACE OF SWORDS (Harbi El, Sword of God). This card speaks to dramatic decisions, and more importantly, cutting with the past. Normally, I wouldn’t like seeing the team’s energy being represented by a Swords card. But this is actually the one card I never would have imagined that I’d have loved to see. The key here is “cutting off the past.” This team has been waiting a year to get back to where they are now, and prove to the world, once and for all, that last spring was an aberration. These guys GET IT now, and I would submit that that’s everyone in the room that gets it. There are some players on the roster that seem to be whipping boys for the chattering classes: Alexander Semin comes immediately to mind, as does the overly-maligned Jeff Schultz. Forget about all of that: if this card is right, then everyone in that dressing room knows exactly what they need to do, to make amends for last spring. These guys want it, and they’ll do whatever they have to do to get it.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: The Capitals have walked a very long, very hard road to get to where they are right now (Queen of Swords). They’ve had a lot of new teammates joining them on their journey, who have helped them get to this point (7 of Wands, Knight of Pentacles). Right now, they’re being lovingly watched over as they prepare for the journey ahead, knowing that the only moment that matters, is this moment now (High Priestess). And the way ahead does look promising, although the immediate future may not be what any of us want to see (9 of Wands). There may be obstacles in the team’s way (Ace of Pentacles), and the Caps may even lose a game early in the series. But don’t lose hope (Knave of Wands)! This team will only use that early obstacle as chance to turn within, strengthen themselves even further, and come back even stronger than before (4 of Chalices). They are on a mission this spring: a mission to make the entire hockey world forget about their loss to Montreal a year ago (Ace of Swords). If they lose a game early, it will only make them that much tougher to play, for the rest of the series. These guys get it, and even an early loss will not be enough to stop them.
MY PREDICTION: CAPITALS WIN IN FIVE.
PROVE ME RIGHT, GENTLEMEN